QuarterBack ~ Cooper Rush ~ Central Michigan Chippewas ~ 6025/228
But I believe not only that Pocket Passing remains the Heart & Soul of successful QuarterBacking, but that the capacity of Speed QuarterBacks to master Pocket Passing can be and often is crippled by the Siren Song of Scrambling: A QuarterBack who has always had that "out" is far less likely to develop the skills that really matter.
Power QuarterBacks ~ The Men with the Golden Arms ~ are equally susceptible to falling Prey to the seductive allure of their own physical Talent: The more powerful their Cannons, the more likely I believe it is that they persistently depend upon that crutch as a Get Out Of Jail Card, and thus fail to develop a more comprehensive Skill Set.
And thus I perceive a Great Irony, one that continues, astonishingly, to elude most: The more explosive a Scrambler that a QuarterBack is, or the more powerful an Arm he boasts, the less likely that he is to achieve Greatness.
Conversely, it's the boring guys who consistently Move The Chains that give you the best Chance to win.
After New Year's Day, when The Only Games That Really Matter are played, History has been relentlessly savage to Power QuarterBacks and Speed QuarterBacks who failed to develop their Games: Once the weaker Teams have been eliminated, the PlayOff Defenses have invariably proven far too much for The Unprepared.
And if you're not prepared to compete after New Year's Day, why play at all??
In consideration of these thoughts, which, like many of my thoughts, fly in the face of what is amusingly considered to be Conventional Wisdom, this is how I break down the Criteria that I focus on, when evaluating QuarterBacks:
1 ~ Processing Speed
2 ~ Precision
3 ~ Pocket Presence
4 ~ FirePower
Processing Speed or Diagnostic Velocity is about how quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape. It's crucial at all 22 Positions, but utterly vital for a QuarterBack to succeed...or to even survive. Reading Coverages, working through Progressions, and selecting the best Receiving or Running Option.
Precision speaks above all to Mechanics: A QuarterBack's consistency with his Stance, his Set Up, and his Delivery. I refer to consistent Accuracy in the Short & Intermediate Zones, where the best Offenses all make their Bread & Butter. In breaking it down, I'm looking at Timing, Touch, and Trajectory: Leading Receivers to DayLight.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure is about Poise, or how one's Processing Speed and Precision stand up Under Pressure, and about one's Temporal & Spatial Instincts in navigating an often chaotic Pocket.
FirePower is a Category that I value, though not as much as others. I refer to Velocity and to DownField Precision, which I don't consider as crucial to Success as Short & Intermediate Precision. DownField Precision makes for tremendous HighLight Footage, but it's Short & Intermediate Precision that Moves The Chains and wins Championships.
Please note, if you will: I don't list 40 Speed among crucial Attributes at all.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Please Note: This is entirely about how rapidly the QuarterBack scans the Field and makes successful Decisions.
* Many College Offenses feature simple Offenses that make this challenging to evaluate.
* It is, nevertheless, far and away the most crucial Aspect of QuarterBacking.
* Accuracy ~ Placement that maximizes the Receiver's Advantage and minimizes that of the Defender.
* Timing ~ Being temporally In Sync with the Receiver. The Ball arriving precisely when the Receiver does.
* Touch ~ The right Speed for the right Play. Only throwing FastBalls when FastBalls are warranted.
* Trajectory ~ Being spatially In Sync with the Receiver ~ enabling him to catch the Ball In Stride.
* Processing Speed Under Pressure.
* Precision Under Pressure.
* Spatial & Temporal Instincts.
* Velocity, irregardless of where he's throwing it: How fast is'is FastBall?
* DownField Precision ~ can he through the Bomb accurately?
Early on, Rush stared down almost every WideOut, but that might've been partly attributable to Scripted Plays. Staring down WideOuts is obviously a very big Problem any time it's done, but as the Game got going, he did so far less often, and on many Plays looked one way, took his Time, and then pivoted in the Pocket and threw it elsewhere.
I also like the fact that he played about half the Snaps Under Center, and looked comfortable, there.
There's certainly lots of Work to be done, but I'm intrigued by what I saw.
* Update: Mediocre.
Precision: Mediocre. Rush showed excellent Touch, but his Timing and Trajectory were inconsistent and raw. His Mechanics were the Issue, here, but in Fairness he was under Pressure all day long from a ferocious CowBoys Defense, so I can't say conclusively that he won't look one Hell of a lot better, given Time and Space.
* Update: Trending towards Marginal.
Pocket Presence & Poise Under Pressure: Marginal. It was a very tough Match Up, but Under Pressure Rush's Precision was awful in every Aspect ~ Timing, Touch, and Trajectory ~ and his Field Vision suffered, as well.
* Yes: Marginal.
FirePower: Mediocre. Mediocre Velocity and DownField Precision. It was a tough Day.
* Yep: Marginal.
There's certainly a lot of Work to be done, here, but despite showing shaky Pocket Presence and mediocre Precision and FirePower against the CowBoys, Rush exhibited the Potential to run an Offense in an hostile environment.
I'll be watching more Tape later on, of course, hopefully from Draft BreakDown, as their wonderful Work saves tons of precious Time. And we'll see if he's been continuing to develop over the course of this Campaign.
* Upon Further Review, I'm afraid that I have to downgrade'm to UFA ~ Lunatic Fringe!!
Thank you so very much, Draft BreakDown, without whom my Work would be virtually possible.
This is not is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning: Caveat Emptor!!